Saturday, May 30, 2015
Epipompē in an Epigram by Posidippus
A statue has sweated: what toil for a man of the city,The Greek:
what a blizzard of spears is coming against him!
Beseech the sweating god, though, and he will drive away
the fire, turn it upon the enemy's house and harvest.
ξέϲματοϲ ἱδρώϲαντοϲ ὅϲοϲ πόνοϲ ἀνδρὶ πολίτηιCf. Eduard Fraenkel (1888-1970), Horace (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), pp. 410-411 (written before the discovery of the new epigrams by Posidippus; footnote omitted):
καὶ δοράτων ὅϲϲ‹οϲ› προϲφέρεται νιφετ̣ό̣ϲ̣·
ἀλλ̣ὰ̣ τὸν ἱδρ[ώϲα]ντα κάλει θεόν, ὅϲτιϲ ἀπώϲε̣[ι
πῦρ ἐπὶ δυ[ϲμε]νέων αὔλια καὶ καλάμα[ϲ.
This type of prayer is based on a widespread and very ancient belief. If a daemon or god is bent on harming you—and in the early days, before the gods became humanized, that seems to have been their favorite occupation—it will do you little good if you just cry out 'spare me' (φείδου, parce). You have to do that as a matter of form, but if you are wise you will add some more effective bait. If you are able to point to a really attractive substitute, then, perhaps, you may succeed in diverting the god from his original object, from you and yours. An obvious candidate for such a substitute is an enemy, either your country's or a personal one; but if you do not want to be so specific, you may be content with asking the daemon to prey on 'others'.The sweating statue is a prodigy threatening evil. The impending evil can be averted only by driving it away to some other place. Richard Wünsch (1869-1915) first used the terms apopompē (ἀποπομπή) and epipompē (ἐπιπομπή) to describe two different ways of banishing evil. See his "Zur Geisterbannung im Altertum," Festschrift zur Jahrhundertfeier der Universität zu Breslau = Mitteilungen der Schlesischen Gesellschaft für Volkskunde 13/14 (1911) 9-32. Wünsch used apopompē to mean simply driving away evil, epipompē to mean driving away evil onto someone or something else or to some other specific location. In this epigram by Posidippus we see a striking example of epipompē.
Tacitus is a decisive and wilful writer. How far are his verbal dislikes (shape, strength, atmosphere, or connotation) to be regarded as deliberate, how far unconscious? It is a large question. His animosities make the idiosyncrascy of the writer stand out in sharp relief. They may also furnish clues to his psychology. Tacitus exhibits a marked distaste for words of a kindly, optimistic, or improving nature: 'iucundus' and 'urbanitas' are discarded before the Annales, while 'blandus' and 'benignus' each appear in the Historiae once, and never again; and there is one example all through of 'tranquillus' (Ann. 1.3.7).
A College Education
Some among these University of Chicago students had an impressive acquaintance with books. One morning in Elder Olson's class in modern poetry, Olson began quoting Baudelaire (mon semblable,—mon frère!) and a student next to me, named Martha Silverman, joined him, in French, and together, in unison, the two of them chanted the poem to its conclusion. This was one of those moments when I thought it perhaps a good time to look into career opportunities at Jiffy Lube.
At the University of Chicago I read many books, none of them trivial, for the school in those years did not allow the work of second- or third-rate writers into its curriculum. Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Jack Kerouac, Adrienne Rich, or their equivalents of that day, did not come close to making the cut. No textbooks were used. You didn't read "Karl Marx postulated ..."; you read Karl-bloody-Marx. The working assumption was that one's time in college is limited, and mustn't be spent on anything other than the first-rate, or on learning acquired (as with textbooks) at a second remove.
Nor did Chicago offer any "soft" majors or "lite" courses. I remember, in my final year, looking for such a course to fill out a crowded schedule, and choosing one called History of Greek Philosophy. How difficult, I thought, could this be? Learn a few concepts of the pre-Socratics (Thales believed this, Heraclitus that), acquire a few dates, and that would be that. On the first day of class, the teacher, a trim little man named Warner Arms Wick, announced that there was no substantial history of Greek philosophy, so we shall instead be spending the quarter reading Aristotle and Plato exclusively.
Friday, May 29, 2015
The Table in Latin
So as Germany collapsed, and the bitter armistice began, Alan was set to work on copy-books and Latin primers. He later told a joke against his own first exercise, in which he translated 'the table' as omit mensa because of the cryptic footnote 'omit' attached to the word 'the'.
The Best Thing for a Man
and do not diminish enjoyment in life, since by far
the best thing for a man is an enjoyable lifetime.
μηδ' ἀμαύρου τέρψιν ἐν βίῳ· πολύ τοι
φέριστον ἀνδρὶ τερπνὸς αἰών.
Evidence of Wasted Time and Effort
Owing to the circumstance that this knowledge has become part of the elementary requirements in our system of education, the ability to use and to understand certain of the dead languages of southern Europe is not only gratifying to the person who finds occasion to parade his accomplishments in this respect, but the evidence of such knowledge serves at the same time to recommend any savant to his audience, both lay and learned. It is currently expected that a certain number of years shall have been spent in acquiring this substantially useless information, and its absence creates a presumption of hasty and precarious learning, as well as of a vulgar practicality that is equally obnoxious to the conventional standards of sound scholarship and intellectual force.
The case is analogous to what happens in the purchase of any article of consumption by a purchaser who is not an expert judge of materials or of workmanship. He makes his estimate of the value of the article chiefly on the ground of the apparent expensiveness of the finish of those decorative parts and features which have no immediate relation to the intrinsic usefulness of the article; the presumption being that some sort of ill-defined proportion subsists between the substantial value of the article and the expense of adornment added in order to sell it. The presumption that there can ordinarily be no sound scholarship where a knowledge of the classics and humanities is wanting leads to a conspicuous waste of time and labour on the part of the general body of students in acquiring such knowledge. The conventional insistence on a modicum of conspicuous waste as an incident of all reputable scholarship has affected our canons of taste and of serviceability in matters of scholarship in much the same way as the same principle has influenced our judgment of the serviceability of manufactured goods.
It is true, since conspicuous consumption has gained more and more on conspicuous leisure as a means of repute, the acquisition of the dead languages is no longer so imperative a requirement as it once was, and its talismanic virtue as a voucher of scholarship has suffered a concomitant impairment. But while this is true, it is also true that the classics have scarcely lost in absolute value as a voucher of scholastic respectability, since for this purpose it is only necessary that the scholar should be able to put in evidence some learning which is conventionally recognised as evidence of wasted time; and the classics lend themselves with great facility to this use. Indeed, there can be little doubt that it is their utility as evidence of wasted time and effort, and hence of the pecuniary strength necessary in order to afford this waste, that has secured to the classics their position of prerogative in the scheme of the higher learning, and has led to their being esteemed the most honorific of all learning. They serve the decorative ends of leisure-class learning better than any other body of knowledge, and hence they are an effective means of reputability.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
I have put my whole life's work into my anglicization. The more I know of American civilization, the more I despise it. It is a menace to the peace and future of the world. If it triumphs, the old civilizations, which love beauty and peace and the arts and rank and privilege will pass from the picture. And all we will have left will be Fords and cinemas. Ugh!
Noli Me Tangere
It was here that Maugham greeted his guests, coming forward with arms outstretched in welcome, then dropping them to his sides to avoid contact.
Worrying About Other People
Don't waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You'll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they're saying, and what they're thinking, and what they're up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.Related post: Foolish.
μὴ κατατρίψῃς τὸ ὑπολειπόμενον τοῦ βίου μέρος ἐν ταῖς περὶ ἑτέρων φαντασίαις, ὁπόταν μὴ τὴν ἀναφορὰν ἐπί τι κοινωφελὲς ποιῇ. ἤτοι γὰρ ἄλλου ἔργου στέρῃ, τουτέστι φανταζόμενος τί ὁ δεῖνα πράσσει καὶ τίνος ἕνεκεν καὶ τί λέγει καὶ τί ἐνθυμεῖται καὶ τί τεχνάζεται καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα ποιεῖ ἀπορρέμβεσθαι τῆς τοῦ ἰδίου ἡγεμονικοῦ παρατηρήσεως.
Monday, May 25, 2015
A Fine Thing
It is a fine thing for a brave man to die when he has fallen among the front ranks while fighting for his homeland.
τεθνάμεναι γὰρ καλὸν ἐνὶ προμάχοισι πεσόντα
ἄνδρ' ἀγαθὸν περὶ ᾗ πατρίδι μαρνάμενον.
I have learnt by experience that when a book makes a sensation it is just as well to wait a year before you read it. It is astonishing how many books then you need not read at all.
John B. Wagner
Debbi Lehr and Brenda Marble, Cass County, Missouri Cemeteries. Researched Edition (Harrisonville, 2003), Gunn City Cemetery section, p. 21:
WAGNER, JOHN B.........................................N/SThe last name of his second wife Carthetly was Kennedy. I don't think the stone is missing (see below).
s/o Jacob C & Elizabeth A (Moore) Waggoner
@ 1820, Pike Co, IL
m1: Eliza Ann Hudson (03/13/1837, Greene Co, IL)
m2: Carthetly ____
*Stone missing (1999)
Id., p. 7:
GILLELAND PLOT.........................................E4These two entries, I think, refer to the same grave, that of John B. Wagner. If his date of death is August 17, 1862, subtract 43 years, 4 months, and 15 days, and his birth date is April 2, 1819. If his date of death is August 17, 1863, his birth date is April 2, 1820. In the census record of 1850 (Pike County, Illinois, enumeration on October 24), his age is 30. In the census record of 1860 (Cass County, Missouri, enumeration date left blank), his age is 40.
(Cannot read names)
d. 08/17/1863, 43 yrs 4 m 15 d
It makes sense for John B. Wagner to be buried in the Gilleland family plot, because two of his daughters are also buried there—Elizabeth A. (Wagner) Gilleland (1839-1857) and Emily M. (Wagner) Gilleland (1842-1913). These daughters were the wives of my great-great-grandfather Robert E. Gilleland (1832-1912), who married Emily the year after her sister Elizabeth (his first wife) died.
The headstone in question, located in the northwest corner of the Gilleland family plot, is weather-beaten and covered with lichen, to the point that the inscription is now practically illegible. I can, however, just barely read the letters "AG" (part of "WAGNER"), near the top, above the life span "43 Yrs. 4 Ms. 15 Ds." (click to enlarge):
John B. Wagner and his brother George T. Wagner both fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War, in the same regiment—10th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry State Guard. John was captain and regimental commissary; his younger brother George was a private in Company E. They enlisted on the same day (September 1, 1861) and were discharged on the same day (April 22, 1862).
If John B. Wagner died on August 17, 1862 (not 1863), then the date may reveal the cause of his death. August 17, 1862, was one day after the Battle of Lone Jack. The town of Lone Jack is located about ten miles north of the site of John B. Wagner's farm. I suspect that, despite his official discharge from the 10th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry State Guard, he fought in the Battle of Lone Jack, was wounded, and died the next day.
In the movie True Grit, Rooster Cogburn (played by John Wayne) tells Mattie Ross that he lost an eye at the Battle of Lone Jack, calling it "a scrap outside of Kansas City."
Friday, May 22, 2015
Ass and Arse
What separates the asshole from the psychopath is that he engages in moral reasoning (he understands that people have rights; his entitlement simply leads him to believe his rights should take precedence). That this reasoning is systematically, and not just occasionally, flawed is what separates him from merely being an ass. (Linguistics backs up the distinction: ass comes from the Latin assinus, for "donkey," while the hole is in the arras, the Hittite word for "buttocks.")Screen shot:
The Latin word is asinus, not assinus. English arse is cognate with Hittite arra-, arri-, arru-, on which see Jaan Puhvel, Hittite Etymological Dictionary, Vol. I: Words Beginning with A (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1984), p. 122.
Labels: typographical and other errors
For myself, when I listen to this and similar narratives, my judgement wavers. Is the revolution of human things governed by fate and changeless necessity, or by accident? You will find the wisest of the ancients, and the disciples attached to their tenets, at complete variance; in many of them a fixed belief that Heaven concerns itself neither with our origins, nor with our ending, nor, in fine, with mankind, and that so adversity continually assails the good, while prosperity dwells among the evil.
Others hold, on the contrary, that, though there is certainly a fate in harmony with events, it does not emanate from wandering stars, but must be sought in the principles and processes of natural causation. Still, they leave us free to choose our life: that choice made, however, the order of the future is certain. Nor, they maintain, are evil and good what the crowd imagines: many who appear to be the sport of adverse circumstances are happy; numbers are wholly wretched though in the midst of great possessions—provided only that the former endure the strokes of fortunes with firmness, while the latter employ her favours with unwisdom.
sed mihi haec ac talia audienti in incerto iudicium est, fatone res mortalium et necessitate immutabili an forte volvantur. quippe sapientissimos veterum quique sectas eorum aemulantur diversos reperies, ac multis insitam opinionem non initia nostri, non finem, non denique homines dis curae; ideo creberrime tristia in bonos, laeta apud deteriores esse.
contra alii fatum quidem congruere rebus putant, sed non e vagis stellis, verum apud principia et nexus naturalium causarum; ac tamen electionem vitae nobis relinquunt, quam ubi elegeris, certum imminentium ordinem. neque mala vel bona, quae vulgus putet: multos, qui conflictari adversis videantur, beatos, at plerosque quamquam magnas per opes miserrimos. si illi gravem fortunam constanter tolerent, hi prospera inconsulte utantur.
What Would Plato Do?
With men of this sort it has already become a constant practice, on proceeding to any business, or on taking office, or on encountering any dispensation of Fortune, to set before their eyes good men of the present or of the past,a and to reflect: "What would Plato have done in this case? What would Epameinondas have said? How would Lycurgus have conducted himself, or Agesilaus?" And before such mirrors as these, figuratively speaking, they array themselves or readjust their habit, and either repress some of their more ignoble utterances, or resist the onset of some emotion.Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 1.11.8-10 (tr. Richard M. Gummere, with his note):
aSeneca (Epistulae Moral. ad Lucilium, i.11.8) says that this idea comes from Epicurus.
ἤδη δὲ τοῖς τοιούτοις παρέπεται τὸ βαδίζουσιν ἐπὶ πράξεις τινὰς ἢ λαβοῦσιν ἀρχὴν ἢ χρησαμένοις τύχῃ τίθεσθαι πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν τοὺς ὄντας ἀγαθοὺς ἢ γενομένους, καὶ διανοεῖσθαι "τί δ᾿ ἂν ἔπραξεν ἐν τούτῳ Πλάτων, τί δ᾿ ἂν εἶπεν Ἐπαμεινώνδας, ποῖος δ᾿ ἂν ὤφθη Λυκοῦργος ἢ Ἀγησίλαος," οἷόν τι πρὸς ἔσοπτρα κοσμοῦντας ἑαυτοὺς ἢ μεταρρυθμίζοντας ἢ φωνῆς ἀγεννεστέρας αὑτῶν ἐπιλαμβανομένους ἢ πρός τι πάθος ἀντιβαίνοντας.
But my letter calls for its closing sentence. Hear and take to heart this useful and wholesome mottoa: "Cherish some man of high character, and keep him ever before your eyes, living as if he were watching you, and ordering all your actions as if he beheld them." Such, my dear Lucilius, is the counsel of Epicurus; he has quite properly given us a guardian and an attendant. We can get rid of most sins, if we have a witness who stands near us when we are likely to go wrong. The soul should have someone whom it can respect,—one by whose authority it may make even its inner shrine more hallowed. Happy is the man who can make others better, not merely when he is in their company, but even when he is in their thoughts! And happy also is he who can so revere a man as to calm and regulate himself by calling him to mind! One who can so revere another, will soon be himself worthy of reverence. Choose therefore a Cato; or, if Cato seems too severe a model, choose some Laelius, a gentler spirit. Choose a master whose life, conversation, and soul-expressing face have satisfied you; picture him always to yourself as your protector or your pattern. For we must indeed have someone according to whom we may regulate our characters; you can never straighten that which is crooked unless you use a ruler.Related post: WWJD.
a Epicurus, Frag. 210 Usener.
Iam clausulam epistula poscit. Accipe, et quidem utilem ac salutarem, quam te affigere animo volo: "aliquis vir bonus nobis diligendus est ac semper ante oculos habendus, ut sic tamquam illo spectante vivamus et omnia tamquam illo vidente faciamus." Hoc, mi Lucili, Epicurus praecepit; custodem nobis et paedagogum dedit, nec immerito. Magna pars peccatorum tollitur, si peccaturis testis assistit. Aliquem habeat animus quem vereatur, cuius auctoritate etiam secretum suum sanctius faciat. O felicem illum qui non praesens tantum sed etiam cogitatus emendat! O felicem qui sic aliquem vereri potest ut ad memoriam quoque eius se conponat atque ordinet! Qui sic aliquem vereri potest cito erit verendus. Elige itaque Catonem; si hic tibi videtur nimis rigidus, elige remissioris animi virum Laelium. Elige eum cuius tibi placuit et vita et oratio et ipse animum ante se ferens vultus; illum tibi semper ostende vel custodem vel exemplum. Opus est, inquam, aliquo ad quem mores nostri se ipsi exigant: nisi ad regulam prava non corriges.
The Simple Pleasures of Sense
And the thought impressed itself upon me while I lingered in that peaceful spot, that there was far more to be said for the simple pleasures of sense than northern folk would have us believe. The English have still much of that ancient puritanism which finds a vague sinfulness in the uncostly delights of sunshine, and colour, and ease of mind. It is well occasionally to leave the eager turmoil of great cities for such a place as this, where one may learn that there are other, more natural ways of living, that it is possible still to spend long days, undisturbed by restless passion, without regret or longing, content in the various show that nature offers, asking only that the sun should shine and the happy seasons run their course.Related post: A Talisman Against Many Ills.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Graces and Something Graceless
For with your help all things pleasantNote the misprint disfiguring line 5 (Greek text and apparatus) in the digital Loeb Classical Library:
and sweet come about for mortals,
whether a man be wise, handsome, or illustrious.
σὺν γὰρ ὑμῖν τά <τε> τερπνὰ καί
τὰ γλυκέ' ἄνεται πάντα βροτοῖς,
εἰ σοφός, εἰ καλός, εἴ τις ἀγλαὸς ἀνήρ.
Labels: typographical and other errors
There are people who say that suffering ennobles. It is not true. As a general rule it makes man petty, querulous and selfish...
A Day at the Beach
Swarming around the loriciferans and cycliophorans, and deep into the soil of shallow marine waters, are other Alice-in-Wonderland creatures, the meiofauna, most of them barely visible to the naked eye. The strange creatures include gastrotrichs, gnathostomulids, kinorhynchs, tardigrades, chaetognaths, placozoans, and orthonectids, along with nematodes and worm-shaped ciliate protozoans. They can be found in buckets of sand drawn from the intertidal surf and offshore shallow water around the world. So, for those seeking a new form of recreation, plan a day at the nearest beach. Take an umbrella, bucket, trowel, microscope, and illustrated textbook on invertebrate zoology.Hat tip: my daughter.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Devil Made Me Do It
Flatulence was thought by some to be caused by demons.19The passage in question is actually 4.23 of Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, in which Porphyry (fragment 326F Smith; tr. E.H. Gifford) is quoted:
19 Euseb. Praep. Evang. 4.22.
Our bodies also are full of them [i.e. demons], for they especially delight in certain kinds of food. So when we are eating they approach and sit close to our body; and this is the reason of the purifications, not chiefly on account of the gods, but in order that these evil daemons may depart. But most of all they delight in blood and in impure meats, and enjoy these by entering into those who use them.
For universally the vehemence of the desire towards anything, and the impulse of the lust of the spirit, is intensified from no other cause than their presence: and they also force men to fall into inarticulate noises and flatulence by sharing the same enjoyment with them.
καὶ τὰ σώματα τοίνυν μεστὰ ἀπὸ τούτων· καὶ γὰρ μάλιστα ταῖς ποιαῖς τροφαῖς χαίρουσιν. σιτουμένων γὰρ ἡμῶν προσίασι καὶ προσιζάνουσι τῷ σώματι, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο αἱ ἁγνεῖαι, οὐ διὰ τοὺς θεοὺς προηγουμένως, ἀλλ' ἵν' οὗτοι ἀποστῶσιν. μάλιστα δὲ αἵματι χαίρουσι καὶ ταῖς ἀκαθαρσίαις καὶ ἀπολαύουσι τούτων εἰσδύνοντες τοῖς χρωμένοις.
ὅλως γὰρ ἡ ἐπίτασις τῆς πρός τι ἐπιθυμίας καὶ ἡ τοῦ πνεύματος τῆς ὀρέξεως ὁρμὴ ἀλλαχόθεν οὐ σφοδρύνεται ἢ ἐκ τῆς τούτων παρουσίας· οἳ καὶ εἰς ἀσήμους φθόγγους καὶ φύσας ἀναγκάζουσι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐμπίπτειν διὰ τῆς συναπολαύσεως τῆς μετ' αὐτῶν γιγνομένης.
Labels: noctes scatologicae
It is madness to hope that anything will remain in the same condition if foreigners, separated from us more by language, manners and laws than by the space of land and sea, shall gain control.
furor est si alienigenae homines, plus lingua et moribus et legibus quam maris terrarumque spatio discreti, haec tenuerint, sperare quicquam eodem statu mansurum.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Interruptions During Lectures
On the other hand, however, we certainly must not neglect the mistake that leads to the opposite extreme, which some persons are led to commit by laziness, thus making themselves unpleasant and irksome. For when they are by themselves they are not willing to give themselves any trouble, but they give trouble to the speaker by repeatedly asking questions about the same things, like unfledged nestlings always agape toward the mouth of another, and desirous of receiving everything ready prepared and predigested.
There is another class, who, eager to be thought astute and attentive out of due place, wear out the speakers with loquacity and officiousness, by continually propounding some extraneous and unessential difficulty and asking for demonstrations of matters that need no demonstration, and so, as Sophoclesa puts it,
Much time it takes to go a little way,not only for themselves but for the rest of the company too. For holding back the speaker on every possible occasion by their inane and superfluous questions, as in a company of persons travelling together, they impede the regular course of the lecture, which has to put up with halts and delays.
a Sophocles, Antigone 237.
οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ τῆς πρὸς τοὐναντίον ἁμαρτίας ἀμελητέον, ἣν ἁμαρτάνουσιν οἱ μὲν ὑπὸ νωθείας, ἀηδεῖς καὶ κοπώδεις ὄντες· οὐ γὰρ ἐθέλουσι γενόμενοι καθ᾿ αὑτοὺς πράγματα ἔχειν, ἀλλὰ παρέχουσι τῷ λέγοντι, πολλάκις ἐκπυνθανόμενοι περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν, ὥσπερ ἀπτῆνες νεοσσοὶ κεχηνότες ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀλλότριον στόμα καὶ πᾶν ἕτοιμον ἤδη καὶ διαπεπονημένον ὑπ᾿ ἄλλων ἐκλαμβάνειν ἐθέλοντες.
ἕτεροι δὲ προσοχῆς καὶ δριμύτητος ἐν οὐ δέοντι θηρώμενοι δόξαν ἀποκναίουσι λαλιᾷ καὶ περιεργίᾳ τοὺς λέγοντας, ἀεί τι προσδιαποροῦντες τῶν οὐκ ἀναγκαίων καὶ ζητοῦντες ἀποδείξεις τῶν οὐ δεομένων·
οὕτως ὁδὸς βραχεῖα γίγνεται μακρά,ὥς φησι Σοφοκλῆς, οὐκ αὐτοῖς μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις. ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι γὰρ ἑκάστοτε κεναῖς καὶ περιτταῖς ἐρωτήσεσι τοῦ διδάσκοντος, ὥσπερ ἐν συνοδίᾳ, τὸ ἐνδελεχὲς ἐμποδίζουσι τῆς μαθήσεως, ἐπιστάσεις καὶ διατριβὰς λαμβανούσης.
Monday, May 18, 2015
How to Behave in Class
Finally, the following matters, even with speakers who make a complete failure, are, as it were, general and common requirements at every lecture: to sit upright without any lounging or sprawling, to look directly at the speaker, to maintain a pose of active attention, and a sedateness of countenance free from any expression, not merely of arrogance or displeasure, but even of other thoughts and preoccupations....And so in the particular case of a lecture, not only frowning, a sour face, a roving glance, twisting the body about, and crossing the legs, are unbecoming, but even nodding, whispering to another, smiling, sleepy yawns, bowing down the head, and all like actions, are culpable and need to be carefully avoided.
ἐκεῖνα μὲν γὰρ ἤδη καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ὅλως ἀποτυγχάνοντας ὥσπερ ἐγκύκλια καὶ κοινὰ πάσης ἀκροάσεώς ἐστι, καθέδρα τέ τις ἄθρυπτος καὶ ἀκλινὴς ἐν ὀρθῷ σχήματι καὶ πρόσβλεψις αὐτῷ τῷ λέγοντι καὶ τάξις ἐνεργοῦ προσοχῆς, καὶ προσώπου κατάστασις καθαρὰ καὶ ἀνέμφαντος οὐχ ὕβρεως οὐδὲ δυσκολίας μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ φροντίδων ἄλλων καὶ ἀσχολιῶν....ὥσπερ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀκροάσεως οὐ μόνον βαρύτης ἐπισκυνίου καὶ ἀηδία προσώπου καὶ βλέμμα ῥεμβῶδες καὶ περίκλασις σώματος καὶ μηρῶν ἐπάλλαξις ἀπρεπὴς ἀλλὰ καὶ νεῦμα καὶ ψιθυρισμὸς πρὸς ἕτερον καὶ μειδίαμα χάσμαι τε ὑπνώδεις καὶ κατήφειαι καὶ πᾶν εἴ τι τούτοις ἔοικεν ὑπεύθυνόν ἐστι καὶ δεῖται πολλῆς εὐλαβείας.
Owners of Multiple Houses
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.Martial 7.73 (tr. D.R. Shackleton Bailey):
"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."
You have a house on the Esquiline, and a house on Diana’s hill, and Patrician Row has a roof of yours. From one you view the shrine of bereaved Cybele, from another that of Vesta, from this Jupiter’s new temple, from that the old one. Tell me where I am to meet you, in what quarter to look for you. Who lives everywhere, Maximus, lives nowhere.
Esquiliis domus est, domus est tibi colle Dianae,
et tua Patricius culmina vicus habet;
hinc viduae Cybeles, illinc sacraria Vestae,
inde novum, veterem prospicis inde Iovem.
dic ubi conveniam, dic qua te parte requiram:
quisquis ubique habitat, Maxime, nusquam habitat.
I rather like the Bostonian transposition by Dudley Fitts in Sixty Poems of Martial (New York, Harcourt Brace & World, 1967, p.63), where the verses bear the title '... Are Many Mansions':
That's a fine place you have on Beacon Hill, Max,As ever,
and that unlisted duplex out Huntington Avenue,
and the old homestead in Tewksbury.
From one you can see
the big gilt dome; the second
gives you an uninterrupted ecstatic view
of the Mother Church; the third
commands the County Poorhouse.
invite me to dinner?
Max, a man who lives everywhere
A Great Many Books
His other expensive taste was that of books; he could not resist the temptation to buy books, books of every sort, from voluminous editions of St. Chrysostom to Nicholas Nicklebys and Charles O'Malleys; and consequently he had a great many. But alas! he had no book-shelves, not one; some few volumes, those of every day use, were piled on the top of one another in his little sitting-room; the others were closely packed in great boxes in different parts of the cottage—his bed-room, his little offertory, his parlour, and many in a little drawing-room, as he called it, but in which was neither chair nor table, nor ever appeared the sign of fire! No wonder the poor man complained the damp got to his books.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Tolerably Well Educated
He had been tolerably well educated; that is, he could read and write sufficiently, understood somewhat of the nature of figures, and had learnt, and since utterly forgotten, the Latin grammar.
The Religion of the Gourmand
For to you your belly is god, and your lungs a temple, and your paunch a sacrificial altar, and your cook the priest, and your fragrant smell the Holy Spirit, and your condiments spiritual gifts, and your belching prophecy.Lewis & Short:
deus enim tibi venter est et pulmo templum et aqualiculus altare et sacerdos cocus et sanctus spiritus nidor et condimenta charismata et ructus prophetia.
ăquālĭcŭlus, i, m. dim. [aqualis]; lit., a small vessel for water; hence,
I. The stomach, maw, SEN. Ep. 90; VEG. Vet. 1, 40. —
II. The belly, paunch: "pinguis aqualiculus", PERS. 1, 57.
In life, as in (that for him more truly actual thing) literature, it was always the preterit that enthralled him.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Wounds in Front versus Wounds in Back
Nor is this a wonder, since men have more regard for their lovers even when absent than for others who are present, as was true of him who, when his enemy was about to slay him where he lay, earnestly besought him to run his sword through his breast, "in order," as he said, "that my beloved may not have to blush at sight of my body with a wound in the back."Cf. id. 4.5, where Pelopidas received seven wounds in front (ἐναντία).
καὶ τοῦτο θαυμαστὸν οὐκ ἔστιν, εἴγε δὴ καὶ μὴ παρόντας αἰδοῦνται μᾶλλον ἑτέρων παρόντων, ὡς ἐκεῖνος ὁ τοῦ πολεμίου κείμενον αὑτὸν ἐπισφάττειν μέλλοντος δεόμενος καὶ ἀντιβολῶν διὰ τοῦ στέρνου διεῖναι τὸ ξίφος, 'ὅπως,' ἔφη, 'μή με νεκρὸν ὁ ἐρώμενος ὁρῶν κατὰ νώτου τετρωμένον αἰσχυνθῇ.'
- Location of Wounds
- Wounds, Honorable and Dishonorable
- Preserving One's Honor in Retreat
- Facing Death
Friday, May 15, 2015
Death in the Privy
Cn. Carbo too is a great embarrassment to Latium's annals. In his third Consulship he was led to execution in Sicily by Pompey's orders. Abjectly and tearfully he begged the soldiers to let him relieve himself before he died, so that he might longer enjoy his miserable daylight, and he dragged out the delay until his head was cut off as he sat in the squalid place.For this and other classical examples see Johannes Ravisius Textor (Jean Tixier de Ravisi), "In Latrinis Mortui aut Occisi," Officinae epitome (1560), to which might perhaps be added Suetonius, Life of Vespasian 24 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
Cn. quoque Carbo magnae verecundiae est Latinis annalibus. tertio in consulatu suo iussu Pompeii in Sicilia ad supplicium ductus, petiit a militibus demisse et flebiliter ut sibi alvum levare prius quam exspiraret liceret, quo miserrimae lucis usu diutius frueretur, eo usque moram trahens donec caput eius sordido in loco sedentis abscideretur.
Taken on a sudden with such an attack of diarrhoea that he all but swooned, he said, "An emperor ought to die standing," and while he was struggling to get on his feet, he died in the arms of those who tried to help him, on the ninth day before the Kalends of July, at the age of sixty-nine years, one month and seven days.
alvo repente usque ad defectionem soluta, imperatorem ait stantem mori oportere; dumque consurgit ac nititur, inter manus sublevantium extinctus est VIIII. Kal. Iul. annum agens aetatis sexagensimum ac nonum superque mensem ac diem septimum.
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Thursday, May 14, 2015
You know, some men got the craving for gold and silver. Others need lotsa land, with herds of cattle. And then there's those that got the weakness for whiskey, and for women. When you boil it all down, what does a man really need? Just a smoke and a cup of coffee.Sappho, fragment 16, lines 1-4 (tr. David A. Campbell):
Some say a host of cavalry, others of infantry, and others of ships, is the most beautiful thing on the black earth, but I say it is whatsoever a person loves.See William H. Race, The Classical Priamel from Homer to Boethius (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1982).
ο]ἰ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων
οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ᾿ ἐπ[ὶ] γᾶν μέλαι[ν]αν
ἔ]μμεναι κάλλιστον, ἔγω δὲ κῆν᾿ ὄτ-
τω τις ἔραται.
What contributed greatly to gain credence for these complaints was the bishop's always eating alone, and never accepting an invitation to a feast. His reasons for thus acting no one knew with any certainty, but some persons in justification of his conduct state that he had a very delicate stomach, and weak digestion, which obliged him to be careful in his diet; while others impute his refusal to eat in company with any one to his rigid and habitual abstinence. Whatever the real motive may have been, the circumstance itself was made a serious ground of accusation by his calumniators.For the Greeks and Romans, solitary dining (μονοφαγία) was a distinguishing mark of the unsociable, greedy man. See:
Εἰς πίστιν δὲ ἦγεν τοὺς ἀκούοντας τὰ λεγόμενα τὸ μὴ βούλεσθαι τὸν ἐπίσκοπον συνεσθίειν τινὶ, μηδὲ καλούμενον ἐφ' ἑστίαν παραγίνεσθαι· ἐξ οὗ καὶ μάλιστα ἡ μείζων ἐκράτησε διαβολὴ κατ' αὐτοῦ. Καὶ τίνι μὲν σκοπῷ συνεσθίειν οὐδενὶ προῄρητο, σαφῶς οὐδεὶς ἀπαγγεῖλαι δεδύνηται· οἱ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ ἀπολογεῖσθαι βουλόμενοι ἔφασκον ὡς εἴη ἐμπαθὴς, καὶ δυσφόρως τὰ σιτία προσφέροιτο, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μόνος ἐσθίει· ἄλλοι δὲ, ὅτι δι' ὑπερβάλλουσαν ἄσκησιν τοῦτο ἐποίει. Ὅπως δὲ ἀληθείας ἂν εἶχε τὸ γινόμενον, οὐ μικρὰ συνεβάλλετο πρὸς διαβολὴν τοῖς κατηγοροῦσιν αὐτοῦ.
- Leopardi and Solitary Dining
- Solitary Eating
- More On Eating Alone
- Philoxenus and Other Solitary Eaters
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
A Cipher System
The key of the higher cipher was next to impossible to discover. It was provided by the first hundred lines on the first book of the Iliad, which had to be read concurrently with the writing of the cipher, each letter in the writing being represented by the number of letters of the alphabet intervening between it and the corresponding letter in Homer. Thus the first letter of the first word of the first line of the first book of the Iliad is Mu. Suppose the first letter of the first word of an entry in the dossier to be Upsilon. There are seven letters in the Greek alphabet intervening between Mu and Upsilon so Upsilon would be written as 7. In this plan the alphabet would be thought of as circular, Omega, the last letter, following Alpha, the first, so that the distance between Upsilon and Alpha would be 4, but the distance between Alpha and Upsilon would be 18. It was Augustus's invention and must have taken rather a long time to write and decode, but I suppose by practice they came to know the distance between any two letters in the alphabet without having to count up, which saved a lot of time. And how do I know about all this? Because many many years later when the dossiers came into my possession I worked the cipher out myself. I happened to find a roll of the first book of Homer, written on sheepskin, filed among the other rolls. It was clear that the first hundred lines only had been studied; because the sheepskin was badly soiled and inked at the beginning and quite clear at the end. When I looked closer and saw tiny figures—6, 23, 12—faintly scratched under the letters of the first line, it was not difficult to connect them with the cipher. I was surprised that Tiberius had overlooked this clue.The cipher was fictional, apparently Graves' invention, not Augustus'. See Albert C. Leighton, "Secret Communication among the Greeks and Romans," Technology and Culture 10 (1969), 139–154 (at 153, n. 61):
In Robert Graves, I, Claudius (New York: Modern Library, n.d.), a sophisticated cipher system equivalent to a Vigenere table keyed by a selected text is ascribed to Augustus. Correspondence with the author has failed to uncover any classical source for this method; however, Charles J. Mendelsohn, "Blaise de Vigenere and the 'Chiffre Carre,'" Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, No. 2 (March 1940), 126, has traced this system to G.B. Belaso in Italy in 1553.See also Albert C. Leighton and Stephen M. Matyas, "The History of Book Ciphers," Advances in Cryptology: Proceedings of CRYPTO 84 (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1985), pp. 101-113 (at 109):
Graham Asher writes:
It looks to me as if Graves created a cipher system in a way no Roman would have done, not because it is too advanced and wasn't thought of in the real world for another fifteen centuries, but because the counting is wrong, and can't easily be made to fit in with Roman concepts of number intervals. There are indeed seven letters between mu and upsilon, but there are no letters between mu and nu – and the Romans didn't have a zero symbol; even worse, there are also no letters, or perhaps minus one letter, between mu and itself; and that problem would occur every time the letter in the cipher text matched the letter in the Iliad. If the Romans had used such a system they would have counted inclusively, as they did in their calendar, and the problem would have gone away: they would have counted 1 as the distance between mu and itself, 2 for mu and nu, and thus the mu – upsilon distance would have been 9.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The Death Penalty
A slave of the banker M. Agrius called Alexander was accused of killing a slave of A. Fannius and tortured by his master on that account. He steadfastly asserted that he had committed the crime. So he was handed over to Fannius and executed. A little time passed and the man believed to have been murdered returned home.Note the misprints in the heading of this chapter in the Digital Loeb Classical Library:
M. Agrii argentarii servus Alexander A. Fannii servum occidisse insimulatus est, eoque nomine tortus a domino admisisse id facinus constantissime adseveravit. itaque Fannio deditus supplicio est adfectus. parvulo deinde tempore interiecto, ille cuius de nece creditum erat domum rediit.
For QUAUSTIONIBUS read QUAESTIONIBUS and for preaf. read praef.
Related post: Corpus Delicti.
Labels: typographical and other errors
The Birds Flee in Terror
First they strike down the branches and the glory of foliage, the homes of the birds. The birds flee in terror. But the harsh rustic hollows the moaning entrails with cruel steel; fire, crueller than steel is applied, and steals furtively, and with a gentle whisper glides, driving its flames, and wanders in blind byways, and feeds on the tree's ribs which resist in vain. But she dies, and no longer does she drink the friendly milk of her nurse, the earth. She burns, as if struck by an awesome thunderbolt. Her veins dry up to their deepest roots. But what did it avail the unlucky one to have survived for so many years? Now she is completely dissolved into fine ashes. Thus he whom a cruel love has ravaged with secret fire cannot bear to reflect on his sweet past life. The poor wretch is consumed to the marrow, and gradually wastes away in the slow heat, and finally rots in his sweet corruption.The Latin (id.):
Decutiunt primum ramos et frondis honorem,The entire poem can be found in Poemata Didascalica, Primum vel Edita vel Collecta Studiis Fr. Oudin, in Ordinem Digesta et Emendata a Cl. V. Joseph. Oliveto, 2nd ed., T. III (Paris: Delalain, 1813), pp. 254-300 (this excerpt on p. 260). Wood ash was used in glass making as an alkali flux, to lower the melting point of the silica.
Alituum domos: timidae fugere volucres.
At durus cavat agrestis reboantia ferro
Viscera crudeli; ferro crudelior ignis
Suppositus repit furtim lenique susurro
Gliscit agens flammas, caecisque meatibus errans
Necquicquam indociles costas depascit: at illa
Emoritur, nec iam terrae nutricis amicum
Humorem bibit; horrifico ceu fulmine tacta,
Aestuat: arescunt venae radicibus imis.
Quid tamen infaustae tot vincere profuit annos?
Iam tota in tenues fluxit dilapsa favillas.
Sic quem durus amor furtivo lancinat igni,
Non dulcis patitur vitae meminisse; medullas
Carpitur infelix, lentoque absumitur aestu
Paulatim, et blando marcescit denique tabo.
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
Monday, May 11, 2015
The Pauline Epistles are extraordinarily difficult to interpret. Read in English, in the light of Scripture teaching and sermons in church, they have a certain deceptive familiarity and naturalness, although, to be sure, it is a fair question how many of those who have attended the Anglican burial service can attach much meaning to the prescribed reading from I Cor. xv. If we approach these letters in the original Greek, and come to them from the reading of other Greek texts of the period, there is not a paragraph which does not pull us up with a start as containing something which is, from that standpoint, barely intelligible.Id., p. 236:
A great classical scholar, Eduard Norden, has remarked, 'Paul is a writer whom I, at least, understand only with very great difficulty.' Probably all classical scholars would agree.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Invitation to the Dance
High guardian of the gods,Some analysis:
Zeus the great chieftain,
I invite first to my dance; 565
and the hugely strong Keeper of the Trident,
of land and salty sea;
and our own father of glorious name,
most august Empyrean, nourisher of all life; 570
and the Charioteer, who
covers the plain of earth
with dazzling rays, a mighty deity
among gods and mortals.
Join me as well, Phoebus, Lord 595
of Delos, who dwell on Cynthus'
sheer escarpment of rock;
and you, blest Maiden, who dwell at Ephesus
in the golden house, where Lydian maidens
greatly revere you; 600
and our own native goddess, wielder of the aegis, guardian of the city;
and he who haunts Parnassus' rock
and glows in the light of pine torches,
eminent among Delphic bacchants, 605
the reveller Dionysus.
ὑψιμέδοντα μὲν θεῶν
Ζῆνα τύραννον εἰς χορὸν
πρῶτα μέγαν κικλήσκω· 565
τόν τε μεγασθενῆ τριαίνης ταμίαν,
γῆς τε καὶ ἁλμυρᾶς θαλάσ-
σης ἄγριον μοχλευτήν·
καὶ μεγαλώνυμον ἡμέτερον πατέρ'
Αἰθέρα σεμνότατον, βιοθρέμμονα πάντων· 570
τόν θ᾿ ἱππονώμαν, ὃς ὑπερ-
λάμπροις ἀκτῖσιν κατέχει
γῆς πέδον, μέγας ἐν θεοῖς
ἐν θνητοῖσί τε δαίμων.
ἀμφί μοι αὖτε Φοῖβ' ἄναξ 595
Δήλιε, Κυνθίαν ἔχων
ἥ τ' Ἐφέσου μάκαιρα πάγχρυσον ἔχεις
οἶκον, ἐν ᾧ κόραι σε Λυ-
δῶν μεγάλως σέβουσιν· 600
ἥ τ' ἐπιχώριος ἡμετέρα θεὸς
αἰγίδος ἡνίοχος, πολιοῦχος Ἀθάνα·
Παρνασσίαν θ' ὃς κατέχων
πέτραν σὺν πεύκαις σελαγεῖ
Βάκχαις Δελφίσιν ἐμπρέπων 605
- Lois Settler Spatz, "Metrical Motifs in Aristophanes' 'Clouds'," Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica 13 (1972) 62-82 (at 71-73)
- Ruth Scodel, "The Ode and Antode in the Parabasis of Clouds," Classical Philology 82.4 (October 1987) 334-335
- Carl Anderson, "Aristophanes and Athena in the Parabasis of Clouds," Electronic Antiquity 11.2 (May 2008) 1-6
- Michael Straus, "Aristophanes' Clouds in its Ritual Setting," Leeds International Classical Studies 10.1 (2011) 1-28 (at 21-22)
Not a Tree is Left Standing
I got to Newstead about 11 o'clock yesterday and found the steward, my namesake, and the butler waiting for me. The first, who is good-looking and a respectable old man of about sixty-five years, showed me over the house and grounds, which occupied two hours, for I was anxious to examine everything. But never was I more disappointed, for my notions, I suppose, had been raised to the romantic. I had surmised the possibly easy restoration of this once famous abbey, the mere skeleton of which is now fast crumbling to ruin. Lord Byron's immediate predecessor stripped the whole place of all that was splendid and interesting; and you may judge of what he must have done to the mansion when I inform you that he converted the ground, which used to be covered with the finest trees, like a forest, into an absolute desert. Not a tree is left standing, and the wood thus shamefully cut down was sold in one day for £60,000. The hall of entrance has about eighteen large niches, which had been filled with statues, and the side walls covered with family portraits and armour. All these have been mercilessly torn down, as well as the magnificent fireplace, and sold. All the beautiful paintings which filled the galleries — valued at that day at £80,000 — have disappeared, and the whole place is crumbling into dust. No sum short of £100,000 would make the place habitable. Lord Byron's few apartments contain some modern upholstery, but serve only to show what ought to have been there. They are now digging round the cloisters for a traditionary cannon, and in their progress, about five days ago, they discovered a corpse in too decayed a state to admit of removal. I saw the drinking-skull and the marble mausoleum erected over Lord Byron's dog. I came away with my heart aching and full of melancholy reflections — producing a lowness of spirits which I did not get the better of until this morning, when the most enchanting scenery I have ever beheld has at length restored me. I am far more surprised that Lord Byron should ever have lived at Newstead, than that he should be inclined to part with it; for, as there is no possibility of his being able, by any reasonable amount of expense, to reinstate it, the place can present nothing but a perpetual memorial of the wickedness of his ancestors. There are three, or at most four, domestics at board wages. All that I was asked to taste was a piece of bread-and-butter. As my foot was on the step of the chaise, when about to enter it, I was informed that his lordship had ordered that I should take as much game as I liked. What makes the steward, Joe Murray, an interesting object to me, is that the old man has seen the abbey in all its vicissitudes of greatness and degradation. Once it was full of unbounded hospitality and splendour, and now it is simply miserable. If this man has feelings — of which, by the way, he betrays no symptom — he would possibly be miserable himself. He has seen three hundred of the first people in the county filling the gallery, and seen five hundred deer disporting themselves in the beautiful park, now covered with stunted offshoots of felled trees. Again I say it gave me the heartache to witness all this ruin, and I regret that my romantic picture has been destroyed by the reality.Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
The Happy Man
Shrewdly enough too said Anaxagoras to somebody who asked him who was the happy man: "None of those whom you think fortunate. You will find him in the number which you think to be made up of miserables." He will not abound in riches and offices, he will be a faithful, persevering cultivator of a small holding or of unpretentious learning, happier in the back row than the front.
nec parum prudenter Anaxagoras interroganti cuidam quisnam esset beatus 'nemo' inquit 'ex iis quos tu felices existimas, sed eum in illo numero reperies qui a te ex miseris constare creditur.' non erit ille divitiis et honoribus abundans, sed aut exigui ruris aut non ambitiosae doctrinae fidelis ac pertinax cultor, in recessu quam in fronte beatior.
Friday, May 08, 2015
A Picture of the Human Person
As if all the putrefactions and all the infections that have preceded our birth and that will resume possession of us after our death were not enough, we are, during our life, nothing but successive corruption and putrefaction, alternating with one another and encroaching upon one another. To-day we lose a tooth, to-morrow a hair; a wound opens, an abscess is formed, you are blistered or prodded with needles. Add to this corns on your feet, vile natural odours, secretions of every sort and of every flavour, and there you have no very exciting picture of the human person.
Comme si ce n'était pas assez de toutes les pourritures et de toutes les infections qui ont précédé notre naissance et qui nous reprendront à notre mort, nous ne sommes pendant notre vie que corruption et putréfaction successives, alternatives, envahissantes l'une sur l'autre. Aujourd'hui on perd une dent, demain un cheveu, une plaie s’ouvre, un abcès se forme, on vous met des vésicatoires, on vous pose des sétons. Qu'on ajoute à cela les cors aux pieds, les mauvaises odeurs naturelles, les sécrétions de toute espèce et de toute saveur, ça ne laisse pas que de faire un tableau fort excitant de la personne humaine.
Edwin Morgan and Claudian's Old Man of Verona
De Sene Veronesi: a DeconstructionEric Thomson drew this poem to my attention. He also contributed the following notes and paraphrase:
Auld Fergus is richt bien and croose, ye ken,
Crawin on his ain dunghill seeventy years.
His stick hirples him ower the grun he crowled on
Langsyne. Gode, he wis feart tae lea thon hoose!
His teeth ay chittert at the notion o chynge.
Aw furrin lochs were pysin! That export trock —
Nae thanks! The ermy? — na, thon's danger-money
Boather the ombudsman? Naw, keep the heid doon.
He's sic a sumph he's niver been tae toon,
He gawks up at the lift — weel, it's free, man!
He coonts the months by kail an coarn an claver,
But disna ken his MP frae his elbuck.
Same auld ﬁelds, same sun an muin — aw's wan
Tae him, he plowters through, it's breid an bu'er.
He kent that aik as an aikorn wance? — big deal!
The scrunty foggage is as grey as him.
An Bennachie's as faur aff as Benares,
And as for Udny, oh man, yon's like Omsk.
Warst thing is, he's still quite hale an stuffie,
His sons and oys are hodden doon, pair loons.
Their backpacks are stashed fidgin for Albania:
He's gote his wee warld, but they wahnt the Wey.
Bennachie: a punning transposition of Lake Garda (Benacus) to the Bennachie Hills in Aberdeenshire. Since Bennacchie comprises a number of 'taps', there is perhaps sly homage here too to 'Pentland's towring taps', Allan Ramsay's transposition of Horace's Soracte in 'To the Ph— An Ode'.Related posts:
Benares: Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Udny: Udny Station, a small village in Aberdeenshire.
Old Fergus is in fine fettle and cheerful, you know,
Crowing on his own dunghill seventy years.
His stick lets him hobble over the ground he crawled on
An age ago. God, he was scared to leave that house!
His teeth always chattered at the notion of change.
All foreign waters were poison! The export trade —
No thanks! The army? — no, that's danger-money.
Bother the ombudsman? No, keep the head down.
He's such a simpleton he's never been to town,
He stares up at the sky — well, it's free!
He counts the months by kail and oats and clover,
But doesn't know his MP from his elbow.
Same old fields, same sun and moon — all's one
To him, he potters about, it's bread and butter.
He knew that oak as an acorn once? — big deal!
The shrivelled aftermath is as grey as him.
And Bennachie's as far off as Benares,
And as for Udny there, it's like Omsk.
Worst thing is, he's still quite hale and sturdy,
His sons and grandsons are weighed down, poor lads.
Their backpacks are stowed away ready for Albania:
He's got his tiny world, but they're after the Way.
- There Was an Old Man of Verona (Abraham Cowley, Maurice Platnauer)
- Happy the Man (Thomas Randolph)
- In Cities Never Seen (Henry Vaughan)
- Fixed in Place (Mildmay Fane)
- The Old Man of Verona (Samuel Boyse, anonymous, Charles Abraham Elton, Karl Maurer, John Beaumont, Elijah Fenton, Francis Fawkes, Helen Waddell)
- Another Translation of Claudian's Old Man of Verona (John Latham)
- Le Vieil Homme de Vérone (Mellin de Saint-Gelais)
Thursday, May 07, 2015
The Wish to Give Up Part of One's Life in Exchange for Another's
Did but heaven allow, to thy stock of years would I add my own.Propertius 4.11.95 (tr. G.P. Goold):
proprios ego tecum,
sit modo fas, annos contribuisse velim.
May the time that was taken from me be added to your years.Carmina Latina Epigraphica 995.13-16 (tr. Edward Courtney):
quod mihi detractumst, vestros accedat ad annos.
If cruel destiny permitted exchange of life and survival could be purchased by another's death, I should gladly have exchanged for you, dear Homonoea, whatever time is due to my life.Id., lines 25-26:
si pensare animas sinerent crudelia fata
et posset redimi morte aliena salus,
quantulacumque meae debentur tempora vitae,
pensassem pro te, cara Homonoea, libens.
May my premature death prolong for you as you live into the future that part of the prime of life which it has taken from me.Acclamation quoted by Tertullian, Apology 35.7 (tr. T.R. Glover):
quodque mihi eripuit mors immatura iuventae,
id tibi victuro proroget ulterius.
Jupiter take our years to add to thine.More parallels in Edward Courtney, ed., The Fragmentary Latin Poets (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993; rpt. 2003), p. 482.
de nostris annis augeat tibi Iuppiter annos.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Karl's publications include:
- "Notes on Carlos German Belli," Plaza: Revista de Literatura 12 (Spring 1987) 39-46
- Interpolation in Thucydides (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995 = Mnemosyne Supplement 150), reviewed by Pascal Payen, Revue de philologie 69 (1995) 344-346; Simon Hornblower, Bryn Mawr Classical Review (95.12.11, "a scrupulous, distinguished and important book"); K.J. Dover, Journal of Hellenic Studies 117 (1997) 218-219 ("What makes the book thoroughly worth reading is his scholarship, learning, scrupulousness in method, and unfailing good sense..."); N.G. Wilson, "The Text of Thucydides," Classical Review 111 (1997) 267-270 ("This book has given me more pleasure than anything else I have had to review for some time."); Renzo Tosi, Athenaeum 85 (1997) 664-668; and Alexander Kleinlogel, Gnomon 70 (2000) 481-492.
- "Gallus' Parthian Bow," Latomus 57.3 (Jul.-Sep. 1998) 578-588
- "Thucydides, Lorenzo Valla and Vat. lat. 1801," Latomus 58.4 (Oct.-Dec. 1999) 885-889
- "Thucydides 7.63.3 on the Sailors 'Considered Athenian'," in Vanessa Gorman and Eric Robinson, edd., Oikistes: Studies in Constitutions, Colonies, and Military Power in the Ancient World. Offered in Honor of A.J. Graham (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002), pp. 271-284
- "Notiora Fallaciora. Exact Non-Allusive Echoes in Latin Verse," in Carl Deroux, ed., Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History, Tome XI (Brussells, 2003 = Collection Latomus 272), pp. 121-156
- "Greek and Roman Lyric," in Bainard Cowan, ed., The Prospect of Lyric (Dallas: Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture Press, 2012)
For melancholy is fairly typical of old age, since the old are naturally depressed, little inclined to merriment, and moody. They suffer from indigestion and a lot from flatulence.
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Saturday, May 02, 2015
Thinking of Holland
Thinking of HollandThe Dutch:
I see broad rivers
through endless fen.
Lines of incredibly
like giant plumes
on the polder's rim;
and sunk in tremendous
the farmsteads scattered
across the plain:
squat towers and churches
and elms composing
a rich domain.
Low leans the sky
and slowly the sun
in mist of mother-
of-pearl grows blurred,
and far and wide
the voice of the water
of endless disaster
is feared and heard.
Denkend aan HollandYou can hear Marco Schuffelen read the poem here.
zie ik breede rivieren
traag door oneindig
als hooge pluimen
aan den einder staan;
en in de geweldige
verspreid door het land,
kerken en olmen
in een grootsch verband.
de lucht hangt er laag
en de zon wordt er langzaam
in grijze veelkleurige
en in alle gewesten
wordt de stem van het water
met zijn eeuwige rampen
gevreesd en gehoord.
Rivierenlandschap bij Haarlem met windmolen
en de ruïne van Brederode
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
Friday, May 01, 2015
Let us now reflect again a moment on Athens, which I think will be somewhat more to our satisfaction. A city not larger than Liverpool, and whose inhabitants might almost have been lost in Syracuse, produced, within the short period of two centuries (reckoning from the battle of Marathon), a greater number of exquisite models in war, philosophy, patriotism, oratory, and poetry,—in the semi-mechanical arts which accompany or follow them, sculpture and painting, and in the first of the mechanical, architecture,—than the remainder of Europe in six thousand years.
"Stop a moment: how shall we climb over these two enormous pines? Ah, Don Pepino! old trees in their living state are the only things that money cannot command. Rivers leave their beds, run into cities, and traverse mountains for it; obelisks and arches, palaces and temples, amphitheatres and pyramids, rise up like exhalations at its bidding; even the free spirit of Man, the only thing great on earth, crouches and cowers in its presence. It passes away and vanishes before venerable trees. What a sweet odor is here!—whence comes it?—sweeter it appears to me and stronger than of the pine itself."
"I imagine," said he, "from the linden; yes, certainly."
"Is that a linden? It is the largest, and I should imagine the oldest upon earth, if I could perceive that it had lost any of its branches."
"Pity that it hides half the row of yon houses from the palace! It will be carried off with the two pines in the autumn."
"O Don Pepino!" cried I; "the French, who abhor whatever is old and whatever is great, have spared it; the Austrians, who sell their fortresses and their armies, nay, sometimes their daughters, have not sold it: must it fall? Shall the cypress of Soma be without a rival? I hope to have left Lombardy before it happens; for events which you will tell me ought never to interest me at all, not only do interest me, but make me (I confess it) sorrowful."
Who in the world could ever cut down a linden, or dare in his senses to break a twig from off one?
A Latin Word Missing from Dictionaries?
The number of misprints in the digital Loeb Classical Library is shocking. Another one from the translation of the same chapter (6.5.ext.3):
Here 16 should be printed superscript, indicating a footnote. You can't click on it to see the footnote (as you can for other footnotes). Why the footnotes couldn't be printed at the foot of each page. as they are in the hard copy, I don't know.
From the Frequently Asked Questions:
9. Can I search by line, book, or chapter number?You can search by line, book, or chapter number in the Perseus Project's collection of Greek and Roman materials. It would be nice if the digital Loeb Classical Library offered the same capability.
Am I turning into what the Dutch call a Zeurpiet, i.e. someone who nags a lot, who complains about everything? Despite my complaints, it's still an incredible convenience having the entire Loeb Classical Library at one's fingertips.